South African women have had enough. After a week that saw several young women raped and murdered with numerous others reported missing, they’ve taken to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) building in Sandton, the major business hub of Johannesburg, to protest against the continued gender-based violence in the country. Women’s rights activists from various organizations, including amandla.mobi and ActionAid as well as several other civil society groups and trade unions, are currently on the ground and waiting to hand over their memorandum of demands to President Cyril Ramaphosa, News24 reports.
Just last week, hundreds of South Africans in Cape Town marched to Parliament to protest against gender-based violence not only in light of the recent surge in the rape and murder of women, but the longstanding culture of violence against women in South Africa. President Ramaphosa, who was taking part in the World Economic Forum (WEF) at the time, went and addressed the crowd, promising that the government would clamp down on violence against women and ensure the law awarded harsher sentences for these crimes.
However, many were not convinced that anything tangible would come from President Ramaphosa’s address especially after he immediately made his way back to the WEF. Hence, the goal of today’s protest is to bring business to a complete halt for the purposes of finally being taken seriously. Some of the demands the protesters have made include imposing a 2 percent levy on all JSE-listed companies that will go towards the fight against gender-based violence as well as the establishing of a dedicated department that deals with gender-based violence at every institution of higher learning.
According to eNCA, President Ramaphosa is no longer attending the UN General Assembly taking place next week and his International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Naledi Pandor, will attend in his absence. Ramaphosa will instead address the protesters in Sandton and receive their memorandum of demands.
Yesterday, the annual crime statistics were released and painted a very grim picture. The Daily Maverick reports that in the 2018/19 year, murder went up by 3.4 percent while sexual offences went up by 4.6 percent.